Going green for the Collin County Community College Preston Ridge campus also meant saving green in the $3.5-million conversion of the college’s natatorium into a culinary arts building.

Corgan Converts Natatorium Into Culinary Arts Building
A rendering shows one of the new kitchen labs in the Collin County Community College Preston Ridge Culinary Arts building, designed by Corgan Associates and built by Hunt Construction.

Dallas-based Hunt Construction - the construction manager at risk – wrapped up the fast-track building schedule recently after less than a year of building. The almost 10,000-sq-ft facility opened for hospitality and food service management classes for the Collin Community College Preston Ridge campus.

Dallas-based Corgan Associates Inc. was tasked with redesigning the existing natatorium to house the school’s culinary program, which had been using one small kitchen in Allen High School.

There were several benefits for the campus including improved facilities to expand the culinary program and the ability to convert an underused facility into something useful and cost effective, Dr. Toni Jenkins, vice president and provost of the Preston Ridge campus of Collin County Community College, told Texas Construction.

The city of Frisco built a natatorium at the college. The cost was about a half-million dollars every few years to keep the facility up to date and operating properly.

The project’s designer - David Zatopek, vice president of Corgan Associates Inc. – says leaders at the college recognized they needed to expand the culinary arts program, and the natatorium needed extensive improvements for which cost couldn’t justify the limited use of the facility.

Corgan has been a part of the project for two years. The first year was used to study the viability of the concept and adapting systems to support the kitchen. Zatopek says part of the value in redesigning the natatorium was that they could recycle an existing building rather than creating a new structure.

“We were able to do that and use the space the pool had occupied to place all of the plumbing without having to jackhammer and start from scratch,” he says.

One of the challenges in the design was to create an adequate teaching kitchen, which needs extra space so multiple students can watch demonstrations, Zatopek says.

“A culinary arts kitchen is like an artist studio because they engage in technical skills, but also in an art,” Zatopek says. “We had to incorporate technology into a design that would meet health, safety and code regulations – and make it a learning lab.”

Jenkins says the college’s hospitality and food service management program has recently added a pastry certification in addition to a number of other culinary certificates, and three different associate’s degrees in culinary arts.

“[With the new facilities] we are able to expand the curriculum to meet the needs of our community,” she says.